Jump to Main Content
Industry Word

Blogs.Industry Word


6 Easy Steps to a Simple Practical Business Plan

Comment Count:

Comments welcome on this page. See Rules of Conduct.

6 Easy Steps to a Simple Practical Business Plan

By Tim Berry, Guest Blogger
Published: May 26, 2010

So you wonder whether you want a business plan for your business. You've heard that business plans are about raising money, perhaps, and it sounds like it might be hard to do. You don't have that MBA degree or CPA certification. So thank goodness, you don't need it. What a relief.

Here's my suggestion:

  1. Take some time to think about your business strategy. Think about what's unique about you, what you do best, and what you like to do. Think about what others want you do do. Then think about whom you want to sell to and what types of people. And apply strategic focus; think about what you're not doing. Remember, you can't do everything. Strategy is focus. Write it down, for yourself, as simple bullet points. Do just enough to help you remember. Leave it on your computer.
  2. Promise yourself you're going to have a review every month. Set the day for the review ahead of time.
  3. List your important assumptions.
  4. List important dates and deadlines; what is supposed to happen when. Consider your strategy as the long-term goals and directions, and these are steps to make that happen. Make a list you can manage, short and sweet, of key dates. Make sure you know who is responsible for each deadline.
  5. Do a sales forecast. Break it down into some meaningful units, even if they're like hours or days or trips for a service business, and average price and average cost per unit. Do it for 12 months.
  6. Do an expense budget. Include payroll, and include your own value, even if you're just taking a draw on profits.

    Now that didn't take long, did it? Now you have a business plan. Be true to your promise to yourself and keep the schedule to review planned vs. actual results every month, and then you have a planning process.

    And suddenly, without that much effort, you're managing your business better and controlling your own destiny. And see: it wasn't that hard.

    About the Author:

    Tim Berry
    Tim Berry

    Guest Blogger

    Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and bplans.com, on twitter as Timberry, blogging at timberry.bplans.com. His collected posts are at blog.timberry.com. Stanford MBA. Married 44 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and www.liveplan.com and books including The Plan As You Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press, 2008.


    I'd like to open a small business and need help getting a business plan together. I have an Associates Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Computer Tech Accounting but it's been 20 years since I studied it. Any and all help appreciated.
    I'm interested in opening a hair extension boutique. I need advice on writing a business plan. thanks
    Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing knowledge with us. This site is fantastic. I always find great knowledge from it.
    i am excited in the learning of business
    anybody here want to start entertainment company. I need advice on business plan.
    Your advisement is very important to my success as Real Estate Investor.
    I'm looking for some kind of help that allow me to become a Real Estate Investor, and I think that you will provide to me this opportunity. Thanks.
    I'm wanting to open my own salon
    Thank you So much
    I want to start a consignment store, because it requires little start -up cost. I need to know how to write a business plan to submit to qualify possible for a business grant from the gov state or city.


    Leave a Comment

    You must be logged in to leave comments. If you already have an SBA.gov account, Log In to leave your comment.

    New users, Register for a new account and join the conversation today!